In several sections of the Bible, “the living creatures” and their “four faces” or appearances are talked about. One verse that speaks of them is Ezekiel chapter 1, verse 10. In this passage of scripture, each of four living creatures had four faces. Their faces were described as follows:
6 Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings….
10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:6, 10
These four living creatures which had these four faces, were with God’s Presence as God’s Presence left the temple of the Hebrews (Ezekiel chapter 10, and Ezekiel chapter 1). God was leaving because of the willful sins and rebellion of His people.
Also, in the book of Revelation which is the last book in the Bible; there were four living creatures and they were “… in the midst of the throne, and around the throne” (Revelation 4:6-7). In this verse the four living creatures were next to God Almighty. In addition to this, the living creatures are mentioned in connection with the appearance of a throne in Ezekiel 1:26, and in Ezekiel 10:1.
Focusing mainly on the four faces; what do they stand for? What do they mean to us? First and foremost, we will show that these four faces in Ezekiel 1:10 “matched up” with four symbols which were found in and on the Ark of the Covenant! Now, the Ark of the Covenant was in a room called the “Holy of Holies.” The Holy of Holies itself was in the temple (or tabernacle) of the Hebrews. The Holy of Holies was basically the heart of the temple. It was the inner room that was so sacred it was given its name, the “Holy of Holies.” The Holy of Holies was the inner room that housed God’s Presence!
God’s Presence was above the Ark of the Covenant and between the two golden cherubim which were also part of the top of the Ark of the Covenant. Remember that the four faces or appearances of the living creatures accompanied God’s Presence in other Bible passages just mentioned. If God’s Presence was in the Holy of Holies, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that the living creatures with the four faces were not far away!
In this book we will use the words, “tabernacle” and “temple,” interchangeably. The temple was built in The Promised Land and it replaced the portable tabernacle which was carried around in the wilderness by the Hebrews. For our purposes, both words, “tabernacle” and “temple,” will have the same meaning and refer to the same symbols and rooms. The Holy of Holies was the most sacred room in the Temple and in the Tabernacle.
Essentially, the book of Ezekiel in chapter one and in chapter ten, describes how God’s presence left His “room” on the earth among His people, and went back to heaven. He did this because His people didn’t like Him, or didn’t like and love Him enough. They had other affections and other friends.
Now, the Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies where God’s Presence was. This ark was a chest or box containing three articles. These three articles in the ark were the golden pot of manna, the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them, and Aaron’s rod that budded. These three articles matched up to three of the four faces of the living creatures that accompanied God’s Presence as He left the temple.
Now, the mercy seat was the “lid” on top of the ark and it was made of pure gold (Exodus 25:17, 21). Two cherubim (type of angels) of gold, called, “the cherubim of glory” in Hebrews 9:5, were made of one piece with the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18-19). In other words, the two cherubim and the mercy seat were formed out of one piece of gold. God’s presence was above the mercy seat. Also, God’s presence was between these two golden statues called, “the cherubim of glory” in Hebrews 9:5.
The fourth face of the living creatures matched up with these golden cherubim. All four of these symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant represented vital, foundational, spiritual truths; these four truths dominate the teachings of the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. The two cherubim form one symbol and correspond to one face in this teaching.
It appears that because of the rebellion of the children of Israel, which was decried by the prophets, including the prophet Ezekiel; God took the spiritual riches and truths symbolized by the three articles in the ark and the golden cherubim on top of the ark, and left (Ezekiel chapter 10). He just left. He was basically telling His people, “You don’t want Me. Alright! I will leave the symbols and statues behind. But, the spiritual realities underlying these symbols and statues go with Me.”
The four LIVING creatures with the four faces are those spiritual riches and realities that were underlying the symbols in and on the Ark of the Covenant. They were and are living realities, living creatures, not just dead symbols. It was like God was saying, “These living creatures with these four faces (or realities) go with Me back to heaven. You are on your own. You can keep the symbols for the memories of what you are missing out on. The absence of these spiritual realities and riches (the four living creatures) will be your judgements. The opposites of these spiritual realities and riches will also be your judgements.”
Thus, in our study we will find that the four faces of the living creatures “matched up” with four symbols which were with the Ark of the Covenant. The four faces and the creatures that bore them, are the living realities and truths that the four symbols in and on top of the Ark of the Covenant, symbolized. This makes sense because the living creatures with the four faces accompanied God’s Presence in other scriptures. To see them symbolized in the Ark of the Covenant which was the nearest thing to God’s Presence on the earth at that time; seems fitting.
One confirmation to the above teachings was when Jesus was asked by His disciples to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1. The first four points of His prayer matched up with the four great symbols in and on top of the Ark of the Covenant; and the first four points of Jesus’ prayer simultaneously matched up with the four faces of the living creatures. This prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples is called the Lord’s Prayer, and is a model prayer known throughout Christendom.
His disciples directly asked Him to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1. In response to their request, Jesus started with the first four points of His prayer being linked to the above four vital points and truths. He was praying them onto the earth. Remember the phrase of the Lord’s Prayer, “on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 11:2)?” Also, it is important to realize, that there were also other truths in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray for; just as there were other symbols and truths in the entire temple besides what was with the Ark of the Covenant.
It is interesting that the golden censer (mentioned in Hebrews 9:4) was used by the Hebrew high priest, and was brought into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to spread incense throughout the room. Only the golden censer was allowed to be brought into the Holy of Holies by only the high priest. Incense was in the golden censer and it symbolizes prayer in the Bible (Revelation 5:8, Psalms 141:2, and Revelation 8:3).
Appropriately, Jesus being the high priest for the New Testament believers (Hebrews 8:1-2), made a model prayer (incense) to His Father God. The golden censer (Hebrews 9:4) certainly symbolized other, countless high priestly prayers made throughout history. We can also imagine or think of the Lord’s Prayer (symbolized by the golden censer with incense) and Jesus (symbolized by the high priest) being in the room called the Holy of Holies. The first four points of the Lord’s Prayer match up with the four key symbols that were in and on the Ark of the Covenant. How fitting! Also fittingly, the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer match up with the four faces of the four living creatures that left the Holy of Holies.
As mentioned above, in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray back to the earth these faces that left the temple in Ezekiel’s time. The four faces did not leave forever, because God obviously wants them back on the earth. He just needs and wants our cooperation. He absolutely refuses to force these truths on us. He wants us to willingly choose these truths to be in our lives and in our world. He wants us to ask and cry out for these truths. He wants us to prove our love for Him. We are going to explore and prove all of the above teachings in this book.
One could also say that in the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus was teaching us to pray for the four, fundamental truths symbolized in and on the Ark of the Covenant. In other words, one could use just the Ark of the Covenant as their reference point and show how the Lord’s Prayer is praying for these four truths symbolized in the Ark.
Also, and very importantly, these four faces of the living creatures (and also the truths underlying the four symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant; and also the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer) literally SHINE through thousands of Bible verses and passages in the Old and New Testaments. In various combinations of one, two, three and four; these four faces can be seen. Also, the opposites and parallels of these four faces can also be seen in thousands of other Bible passages. Even sinful, unbelieving people live in a reality that is an opposite of, or parallel to these four faces. Consider that people were made in God’s image (Genesis 1: 26-27).
I believe the meanings of the four faces become so obvious and have so much common sense, that they can be clearly understood and seen by everyone, believer or unbeliever! I believe that these four faces can be a great evangelistic tool to the unbelievers. I also believe Jewish people would be helped to see the sheer practicality and applicability of the knowledge of the meanings of these four faces. I believe that Jewish people would love seeing the four faces of the living creatures match up with the unrivaled, incomparable Ark of the Covenant. Finally, the way the meanings of these four faces fit in with the entire counsel of scripture, gives me huge assurance that we are on to something here.
As additional validation to some of the above teachings, consider the following scriptures.
26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Ezekiel 1:26 (Regarding the context of this passage of scripture, the heads of the four living creatures were positioned below this likeness of a throne.)
1 And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne. Ezekiel 10:1 (As you read on in Ezekiel 10, the four living creatures were below this likeness of a throne.)
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. Revelation 4:6
22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:22
4 So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim…. 1 Samuel 4:4a
(The lid of the ark of the covenant was called the “mercy seat.” God’s Presence was above the mercy seat and between the golden cherubim. God didn’t sit on the mercy seat but He dwelt above it like the man in Ezekiel 1:26 mentioned above. The point being that a seat is like a throne in many ways. It is fitting that the four living creatures would be represented by the four symbols with the Ark of the Covenant; and that the symbols would be near God’s Presence at that time, and near the mercy seat. To summarize this; these four living creatures were and are near God’s Presence and His throne. The four symbols with the Ark of the Covenant were near God’s Presence and His mercy seat.)
Thus we can see from the above scriptures that the four living creatures with their faces and appearances are seen to be near the throne of God; and they tend to be near God’s Presence. The Ark of the Covenant had a mercy seat rather than a throne. The Ark also was near God’s Presence. This all makes it reasonable to expect those four symbols with the Ark to be related to the four faces or appearances of the living creatures.
As simple and basic as they are; to find the meaning of these faces would be next to impossible by just looking at them, and making correct guesses as to what they stand for. Throughout the history of the Christian church, theologians connected these four faces to the four gospels in the New Testament. More recently, Ray Stedman wrote an interesting article named, “Four Faces of Christ.” He studied the four Gospels and found four faces of Christ.
His article did not connect the four faces in Ezekiel to the four gospels. Yet, by saying that Christ has these four faces, and because Christ is God according to the Bible; Stedman was implying that God in Christ shows at least these four faces. Some Bible teachers in England wrote a book about this subject, naming the book, “The Four Faces of God.” They also tried to make a connection with the faces in Ezekiel chapter 1 to the four gospels. Also, various theologians in the early Christian church tried to match up the four faces to the four gospels.
I had huge problems coming up with a title for this book. Maybe these four faces should be called the “four faces associated with God.” The Bible actually refers to them as the four faces of the four living creatures which were with God and often accompanied the Presence of God. Nevertheless, I can assure you that anything associated with God’s Presence will have mind boggling meaning and applicability. We will show in this book how these four faces, and their opposites or parallels, dominate our very existence; whether we are believers or not. They dominate our very existence every minute of our lives.
These four faces or their opposites and parallels will dominate our futures, forever. Also, this book addresses the symbols in the entire temple or tabernacle. The symbols in the entire tabernacle will be taught later, near the end of this book. Please note the chapter titles in the table of contents at the front of this book to see those chapters dealing with the entire tabernacle.
The focus of the beginning of this book has emphasis on the four faces. The Bible also gives information about the four living creatures which had these four faces in Ezekiel chapters one and ten. Also, Revelation chapters four, five and beyond, give information about four living creatures. Special attention was given to the eyes associated with these four living creatures. Also, the living creatures with the four faces are sometimes mentioned in the scriptures in connection with the throne of Almighty God (Revelation 4:6-7, Ezekiel 1:26, Ezekiel 10:1).
I believe that the four living creatures in Revelation are the same as the four living creatures described in Ezekiel. Later in this book we will devote a chapter to show how these four faces or appearances mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation fit together.
I don’t for one minute think that we are going to understand everything about the Maker of heaven and earth; and the Maker of all that lives therein. If you think of the trillions upon trillions upon trillions of animals, insects, birds, fish, humans, body parts, cells and much more; and think about how they all miraculously reproduce after their own kind. How are we going to know everything about the One who made all of this? What about all of the countless trees, plants and vegetation; and how they reproduce? It does not bother me that we don’t have answers for everything. Yet, I have confidence that God gave me some insight into the meanings of these four faces.
As we embark on this journey to find the meanings of these faces; we will find that these four realities or truths dominate the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. They dominate God’s relationship with mankind. Because God is personal and man is personal because he was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); “face to face” interactions make a lot of sense. Without God, human beings are stuck in these four “dimensions” or “vacuums,” and they are left to work things out on their own. Things can get ugly very quickly: consider Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-14). Also, consider Romans 1: 20-32. Some people have said that man was born with a God shaped vacuum in his heart. These four faces and their opposites and parallels, help bring definition to that God shaped vacuum.
Because man is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), it might be that man portrays certain similarities to these four faces. In this book, let’s see if this is true. Maybe man who is corrupted by sin, demonstrates a corrupted version of these four faces. Maybe man corrupted by sin shows a disfiguration of these four faces. Let’s see if this is true. Maybe people who are saved from sin by Jesus Christ demonstrate an ever increasing submission to and harmony with these four faces; and are hoping and waiting for a perfect submission to and harmony after their death; when they meet Jesus Christ face to face.
Let’s see about this one. Actually, a perfect submission to and harmony with these four faces would show humanity living and walking in perfect accord with Almighty God and each other. The Garden of Eden before the sin and fall of Adam and Eve would be an example of this. Heaven would be another example of this. Certain revivals like in Acts 2:37-47 would approximate this. A few moments in your earthly life might approximate this.
As implied in the previous paragraph, we are also going to see how these four faces, by the power of the Holy Spirit who was given to the early believers by God, shined through the experiences of the early church. This is seen in Acts chapter 2 and beyond. The Holy Spirit was given to the church on the Feast of Pentecost as was recorded in Acts chapter 2. He was given in order to take these great four spiritual realities (as well as other important spiritual truths) from heaven and manifest them on the earth through all believers.
And if the above mentioned teachings are not enough for you, we are going to show how people who were made in God’s image, demonstrate a rough but sinful and corrupted view of these four faces. This is a powerful proof for the existence of God and the validity of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. We are also going to show how the opposites of these four faces give us insight into what hell is like.
We are also going to show how the opposites of these four faces show the basic structure of mankind’s sinful nature. We are also going to show how the opposites of these four faces give us insight into what we call mental illness. And if all of the above isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what to tell you. You might need a big hug, or something. I don’t know! You obviously have got issues that extend beyond the scope of this book!
Let’s begin this teaching by seeing four realities symbolized in the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, which in turn was in the Hebrew temple. We will also show the similarities between the four symbols in and on the Ark of the Covenant with the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus was teaching us to pray these four realities onto the earth.
Then, we will see these four realities in scores; if not hundreds, if not potentially thousands; of other scriptures found throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Any one of these passages of scripture will show from one to four of the fundamental truths or realities (faces). Then we will see these four realities fit beautifully with the symbolism of the four faces of the living creatures which accompanied the Presence of Almighty God.
We are not going to just come out and declare the meaning of the four faces. If we did, the average reader might easily say, “Well that’s your opinion. Lots of people have lots of opinions!” But, with the witness of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies; the witness of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer; and then with the witness of scores of sample scriptures; I trust that the meaning of the four faces will shine through and become obvious to everyone.
By demonstrating how pervasive and dominant these four faces are throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the reader will see how these four faces could not mean anything other than what is being demonstrated. By demonstrating how pervasive and dominant these four faces (or their parallels, opposites and corruptions) are in our daily life, we will have huge assurance that we are on the right track with this teaching. These meanings will certainly appeal to our common sense.
The Ark of the Covenant in the Temple
and the Lord’s Prayer
We will start our journey to gain insight into the meaning of these faces by looking into the Ark of the Covenant found in the temple of the children of Israel. The word, “temple,” and the word, “tabernacle,” are used interchangeably in this book. After wandering in the wilderness with the portable tabernacle, the children of Israel eventually built a permanent temple in the Promised Land. The temple was built like the portable tabernacle that the Hebrews carried about in the wilderness.
In this chapter, we will tie four central symbols found with the Ark of the Covenant to the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. Then, we will show that these four fundamental realities are found throughout the Bible. Then, in this process, the meanings of the four faces in Ezekiel will become evident.
Two of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer were accompanied by the phrase, “on earth as it is in heaven.” The Holy of Holies and the entire temple or tabernacle, were also meant to be an earthly representation of what is in heaven:
5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Hebrews 8:5; (also read Exodus 25:40)
The tabernacle and temple were meant to be replicas of what is in heaven. Now the Holy of Holies in the temple was the room where God’s presence actually dwelt in a special way. The Ark of the Covenant was the main feature in the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant were and are the very center and heart of Judaism. No one would dare to approach the Holy of Holies except if they were authorized, and if they approached it in the prescribed way. And, it is right here where we will first find the meanings of the four faces in Ezekiel.
Let’s look in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament and see how this book describes what was in the Holy of Holies (also called the Holiest of All). This passage of scriptures describes another room of the Tabernacle also. We will teach on this other room later.
2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;
3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,
4 which had the golden censer and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the Tablets of the Covenant;
5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Hebrews 9:2-5
So, in the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, which also was called the Ark of the Testimony in other parts of the Bible. In this special box or chest were three articles of monumental importance. One might think of a treasure chest being full of precious jewelry and magnificent riches; but these three articles in this special box are and were infinitely more important than mere earthly riches. These three articles in the ark relate to three of the four faces of the living creatures who are next to God Almighty.
They also relate to three of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. And above the Ark of the Covenant was the mercy seat. Imbedded into the golden mercy seat were the golden cherubim of GLORY. The golden cherubim were made of one piece with the mercy seat (Exodus 25:18-19). Above the mercy seat and between the two golden cherubim of glory was where God’s Presence dwelt at that time.
The golden statues of the cherubim of glory were not in the Holy of Holies to give glory to themselves. They were there to promote the idea of giving God glory. These cherubim were there to be an example for us humans to glorify, respect and revere the God of Israel. When it comes to the person and presence of God, the Bible teaches people to glorify, hallow, recognize, honor, respect, worship and love the “person” of God. The Bible expressly forbids the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18).
The Bible forbids the worship of anything, any organization, any other god, or anybody other than God. Also, and very importantly, this practice and idea of giving glory to God is the first point in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus taught us to pray.
9 “In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:9-11
Hallowing God is the first point of this great prayer. Setting God’s name apart from and above all other names and other things in this world, is the first point of the Lord’s Prayer. Here is our first match in our comparison of the Lord’s Prayer and the Ark of the Covenant.
The golden cherubim on top of the Ark were symbols of angels. Angels are special kinds of beings. There are different kinds of angels in the Bible. One of the primary purposes of angels is to worship and glorify God (Hebrews 1:6). Angels also serve God (Hebrews 1:7,14). Thus we had on top of the Ark, statues of angels who were portrayed as worshipping, recognizing, adoring, and loving God; and giving Him glory. These statues served as an example for us human beings.
The idea of worshipping God is not only what God wants, but it is actually hugely beneficial to the human soul and mind. Romans 1:21 tells us that people “did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful….” Because of this, Romans chapter one then tells us that people descended into foolishness, spiritual darkness, and despicable behavior.
In Daniel 5:30, King Nebuchadnezzar became all full of himself and said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” After saying this, Daniel tells us that the king went mad for seven years. Then the king, after seven years, lifted his eyes to heaven, his understanding came back to him, and he “blessed the Most High, and praised and honored Him who lives forever…” (Daniel 5:34).
Notice that king Nebuchadnezzar lost his understanding after getting all puffed up with himself. Also notice that king Nebuchadnezzar gained back his understanding, and was praising and honoring the Most High God.
In Genesis 3:1-10, Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, and they wanted to make their own decisions about right and wrong (knowing good and evil), and not just follow God’s ways and plans. They wanted to be independent and equal with God. They ended up covered with shame (instead of glory), filled with fear (instead of peace and contentment), knowing sin (as opposed to only walking in righteousness), and under a curse (instead of blessed). Interestingly, Adam and Eve were naked before the fall and they had no shame (Genesis 2:25). Shame is the opposite of glory.
There is something about giving God glory, honor, respect and our love. Honoring Him somehow frees us and makes us “comfortable in our own skin.” Obviously, Adam and Eve did not feel comfortable with only their skin after they made their move away from God (Genesis 3:7, Leviticus 18:7-16, Genesis 9:22-23). They felt a desperate need to cover themselves because of the shame of their nakedness.
Especially in the United States, so many of us are all stuck up on ourselves. We glorify ourselves and end up in shame; we end up self-absorbed; total “Me Monsters;” spoiled brats; delusional; and even paranoid and violent. Paranoid people are radically self-absorbed; some are obsessed with protecting their own glory, reputation, themselves, or other things.
Romans 12:3 instructs us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, but to think soberly. Haughtiness leads to unsound judgement. I also believe this self-glorification leads to at least some of what we call, “mental illness.” Self-esteem teaching can open the door to the above problems. Self-esteem teaching can lead to some people becoming stuck up on themselves.
In addition to glorifying themselves, people can also give glory to gods other than the God of the Bible. People can glorify organizations, institutions, causes, corporations, other people, political parties, angels, deceased people, animals, planets, stars and other things. Glorifying any of these is contrary to giving glory to the God of the Bible. God wants His name hallowed above all else. God wants His name set apart and esteemed above all else. The first three of the Ten Commandments relate to the above. Possibly the fourth commandment about observing the Sabbath has to do with the above. Also, the fifth commandment about honoring our father and mother, fits in this general category of the importance of giving honor and respect to authority.
To sum up all of the above teaching; the Presence of God and the Cherubim of Glory above and imbedded into the mercy seat, speak to the necessity of people and believers to give glory to the God of the Bible. Giving glory to God is one of the four vital truths found with the Ark of the Covenant. It is also the meaning of one of the four faces of the living creatures in Ezekiel chapter one. This face will be discussed later.
Regarding the Lord’s Prayer, the first point of this prayer is to hallow and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Thus the first point of the Lord’s Prayer matches up with the Cherubim of Glory found on top of the Ark of the Covenant. Also, the first point of the Lord’s Prayer matches up with one of the four faces of the living creatures in Ezekiel chapter one. This face will be revealed soon. Think of which of the four faces is that of a being that soars high, and is exalted above the earth in the heavens; reminding us of many of the scriptures that speak of the glory of God: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:11).
Also, the Bible teaches that believers will share in God’s glory in heaven (Romans 2-6-10, Romans 2:29, John 17:22, Romans 8:30). The Bible also teaches that obedient believers will experience a measure of honor, favor and glory on this earth (Deuteronomy 28:1, 10, 43; Acts 2:47; and many other scriptures).
People have an innate desire to give AND receive love, honor, glory, recognition and respect. They were created with this capacity. This in itself is a powerful proof of the validity of the Bible and the existence of God. In the former Soviet Union and in Communist China, the atheists gave glory to and idolized Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao. The atheists couldn’t help themselves. Apart from God, they had to give glory to someone or something. They were made this way!
Also, it should be mentioned here, that these four faces or realities that we are showing in this book, relate to what it is like to be saved. They show what Christians by the help of God’s Spirit, do in the Kingdom of God. They show the Spirit filled life. They show what heaven is like. They do not directly show the way to salvation or the way into the kingdom. They give us directions indirectly, yes; but not directly.
In the entire temple of the Hebrews, the way of salvation is shown in the Burnt Offering (redemption in Christ pictured by the sprinkling of blood; and crucified with Christ by grace through faith, pictured by the burning of the entire animal’s flesh on the altar); the Grain Offering (the resurrection of Christ; also we believers are and were raised with Christ by grace through faith); and the Peace Offering (also called the Fellowship Offering; “Reconciliation” in the New Testament).
These three offerings were performed at the entrance to the Tabernacle. We will talk more about all five offerings sacrificed at the entrance of the Tabernacle, later.
The next three vital points or testimonies are found inside the Ark of the Testimony (also called the Ark of the Covenant). To refresh your memory, these three articles were the Ten Commandments written on two stone tablets, the golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. We will relate or match up these three articles in the ark to the next three points of the Lord’s Prayer. These three points of the Lord’s Prayer and the three symbols in the Ark of the Covenant, will also show the meaning of the other three faces of the living creatures; to be defined later in this book.
Starting with the easiest match; the pot of manna in the Ark speaks of God daily providing for His people in the wilderness. There is an obvious association between the manna and the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
God provided manna on a daily basis to His people in the wilderness. The manna was only good for one day. The exception to this was that the people gathered a double portion of manna the day before the Sabbath, so that they didn’t have to gather on the Sabbath. This idea of provision is also the meaning of one of the four faces of the living creatures in Ezekiel chapter one.
The Bible teaches that God is the believers’ provider. He wants us to make Him our source, and He is glorified in this. We are all tempted to make other entities our source: the company we work for, the government, another person, an organization, etc. We also need to thank God for our jobs.
God wants us to rely on Him as our source and provider. This is fundamental. This is why the Bible instructs us to give thanks for our food (1Timothy 4:3-5). Also, God being our source does not negate the importance of work which is also part of God’s plan (1Thessalonians 4:11-12, and numerous other scriptures). God wants to bless our work (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; and numerous New Testament and Old Testament scriptures). Actually, work relates to another of the four fundamental truths or realities that we will find in the Ark of the Covenant.
God being our provider is one of the great four truths about walking with God. James 1:17 says that every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights. Later on in this book, we are going to expand our view of God being our provider, to mean that He can provide anything and everything that we need, big or small. Let’s look at some scriptures that deal with the greatest provision of all.
Even Jesus identified Himself with the manna in John 6. Manna has to do with provision. He basically was calling Himself the great provision from God.
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:32-35
Thus, to the believer, God is our Great Provider and source for all good things; from the small daily needs to the big things; to the biggest need of all, our salvation. Humanity tends to focus on their needs for this and that. In addition to these things, God knows that we need a Savior above all else.
Also, as another example of provision in the Bible, God was even able to provide a sacrifice in the form of a ram for Abraham. Abraham saw God provide a sacrifice for himself, and Abraham prophetically called that place where it happened, “The-Lord-Will-Provide” (Genesis 22:14). That place was on Mount Moriah, where Jesus was crucified, about 1750 years later. Jesus was crucified in that general area at the very least. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus died on the exact, same spot of Abraham’s sacrifice; but I don’t know that. We will discuss Abraham’s great prophetic sacrifice and provision later.
The next article in the Ark of the Covenant is also an easy match to one of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. The tablets of the Ten Commandments which were in the Ark relate to the part of the Lord’s Prayer where it says, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Ten Commandments and other commandments were literally God’s will for the Hebrews on the earth. The word “obedience” is the right word here. Walking in obedience to God shows that we love God (John14:15, John 14:21, 1John 2:3-5, etc.). The word, “righteousness,” is also an appropriate word here. Righteousness means right living in this context.
One of the four basic realities about walking with God, is righteousness. God is a righteous God. Those who love and worship Him, must strive for righteousness (Matthew 4:10). Also, walking in love fulfills all righteousness. Loving God and loving our neighbor fulfills the law which is righteousness (Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 22:36-40, etc.). Thus the idea of righteousness is one of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. It is also the meaning of the two tablets with the Ten Commandments found in the Ark of the Covenant. Also, the idea of righteousness is the meaning of one of the four faces of the living creatures in Ezekiel chapter one.
God set us free from sin by Jesus dying on the cross for us (Romans 6:1-11, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Colossians 2:11-12, and many more scriptures). God gave the Christian His Holy Spirit to lead, encourage and help the Christian to live for righteousness (Romans 8:4, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, and scores of other New Testament scriptures). God saved us through Christ for the very purpose that we should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, and many more). We are not saved BY good works, but we are saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, Romans chapter 6, and many, many more scriptures). We will write much more about this later.
(Jesus also offers forgiveness to us by His death on the cross because our sins condemn us. He paid the penalty for our sins, otherwise the believer could not be rid of the guilt, condemnation, shame, curses and eternal hell that our sin brings on us and to us. Eternal hell is the ultimate penalty for sin.)
Also, righteousness includes the idea of work. Working at a job helpful to humanity is included in the idea of righteousness. Doing excellent work on the job is part of the idea of righteousness. The Bible also says, “…the worker is worthy of his wages.” (Ephesians 4:28, Luke 10:7, 1Timothy 5:18, Matthew 10:10, Leviticus 19:13, etc.) Wages relate to provision mentioned above as another of the four faces or realities. This conversation about how work leads to wages, is a down to earth example of the larger picture of how “righteousness leads to life” (Proverbs 10:16, Proverbs 11:19-31, Proverbs 12:28, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, etc.).
So far we have matched three of the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer with three of the four major realities or truths found in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. So far we have Glory and who gets the glory (God, and then He shares it with His children, John 17:22, etc.); we have righteousness (right living, both God is righteous and His children are to strive for righteousness); and we have provision, namely who or what is our source and provider (God). We have one more match to make. Will we have to “jerry-rig” this last match or will it fall into place naturally? Let’s see.
Notice that when we are discussing what God is like through the four faces (to be discussed later) and through the four realities found with the Ark of the Covenant, we end up discussing humanity and the human experience. Human beings need to be defined and understood in terms of their relationship with their Maker. Conversely, human beings need to understand God in terms of who He is to them. To divorce God from human beings eventually results in hell for humanity; that is, hell on earth and eternal hell. Human beings are left to fill these four vacuums left by the four faces of God, with their own devices and strategies.
These devices and strategies usually become and devolve into what the Bible calls sin. All of these realities are powerful proofs for the existence of God and the validity of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
The last item for us to discuss in the Ark of the Covenant is Aaron’s rod that budded. What does this article mean? What did it mean to the children of Israel? The context for this item is found in Numbers chapters 16 and 17. It started with what is called Korah’s rebellion. Korah was basically jealous of Aaron and his family for their high position and job in the priesthood.
Korah and his people said to Aaron and Moses, “You take too much upon yourselves …. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord (Numbers 16:3)?” Korah wanted at least some of Aaron’s job and responsibilities. He wanted the authority and power that Aaron and his family had. He obviously even wanted the prestige and glory that accompanied that office. Korah’s rebellion was a grab for power and glory.
Unfortunately for Korah and his followers, God had chosen Aaron and his sons to have the high priest position. Korah was in rebellion against God’s rule and authority. Korah was in effect challenging God, and God’s rule, and God’s power. I believe this was a great example of what it means to test or tempt God. Moses entreated Korah and his people to be reasonable and talk this out. They would not. Then God stepped in and delivered one of the greatest and most decisive beat downs in Bible history. The reader can read about it in Numbers 16.
Then God had the heads of each of the twelve tribes of Israel put a rod before the Lord in the tabernacle. “Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds” (Numbers 17:8). This was the sign that God had chosen Aaron and his people for the high priesthood position and responsibilities.
Later, “… the Lord said to Moses, ‘Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a SIGN AGAINST THE REBELS, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die’” (Numbers 17:10). Thus, Aaron’s rod that budded was a sign of God’s power and strength to protect His kingdom and kingdom order against rebels and enemies. It should be noted that Aaron’s rod was also used previously against the Israelites’ enemy: Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
Aaron’s rod was used to administer God’s power against Pharaoh on four occasions: the rod becoming a snake; the rod was used to turn the waters to blood; Aaron’s rod was used to bring lice, and it was used to bring the frogs.
Notice that God said that Aarons rod that budded was a “sign against the rebels.” Some people think Aaron’ rod budding was to establish and validate the Aaronic priesthood. It certainly did that. That is true. But, even Korah respected the priesthood, that’s why he wanted and coveted Aaron’s job. Korah did not question the validity of the priesthood. Aaron’s rod that budded was and is a sign against any kind of rebellion against God and His established order; this challenge to the priesthood was an example of rebellion.
This symbol was not just Aaron’s rod, it was Aaron’s rod that budded. Aaron’s rod that budded was a testimony that God was powerful and able to protect His kingdom. Korah tested God. Obviously Korah was confident that he would win this contest with Moses and Aaron, regardless of what God thought, or what God’s will was. Thus, Aaron’s rod that budded is a sign to any kind of rebellion against God. It should be said that making a mistake is different from willful, deliberate rebellion.
In this account, God’s power was manifested to defend against threats to His kingdom order and people. This example with Korah is God’s power used in the defensive. Then, when God caused Aaron’s rod to blossom, He was also demonstrating His power in the offensive, to extend the kingdom. God was demonstrating that He could take a piece of dead wood (wood is a symbol of humanity and the “carnal nature” of people) and make it a fruitful branch bearing fruit in various forms of maturity: buds, blossoms, and ripe almonds.
Aaron’s rod that budded also speaks prophetically to the New Testament Christian. By God’s power the cooperating and obedient believer can bear fruit thereby extending the kingdom. By the power of the Holy Spirit the church in Acts chapter two had three thousand converts added to their number in one day. Also, in Acts 2:47 people were being added to the church daily. Great signs and wonders were being done by the power of God (Acts 2:43). In other words, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the church experienced kingdom growth.
Also, the New Testament speaks of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), being filled with the fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:11), bearing much fruit and thus glorifying God (John 15:8), and being like a branch connected to Christ the vine, and bearing much fruit (John 15:2). Second Peter 1:5-11 instructs us to show all diligence in adding one quality of God to another quality in our lives; thus increasing in our fruitfulness and proving that our salvation is real.
Thus we can see that Aaron who was faithfully fulfilling God’s call on his life, was able to be fruitful and productive in his life. Korah who rejected his own ministry and sought after something else, even someone else’s ministry; he entered into judgment and was not fruitful in God’s kingdom. The above two examples are cases of the value of submission to authority: both God’s authority and human authority.
The reader can probably see now how Aaron’s rod that budded relates to the part of the Lord’s Prayer where the believer prays “Your kingdom come … on earth as it is in heaven.” The believer in so praying should be asking for God’s power to defend and extend God’s kingdom on the earth. This part of the Lord’s prayer relates to the power of the Spirit, the authority of the name of Jesus, the authority of the word of God, the power of the blood of Jesus, the authority of the cross of Jesus Christ, and any other power or authority that the believer has access to in Christ.
Aaron’s rod that budded speaks of strength, power, and authority. The King of the kingdom with and through the cooperation of His subjects must exercise power and authority to defend and extend His kingdom. When the believer is praying “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven,” he is believing and CONTENDING for God’s kingdom to stand and expand on this earth. He is praying and believing that God’s kingdom would prevail over all other competing kingdoms.
I want to mention here that I know of four or more enemies to the spiritual kingdom that Christian’s contend for. Our weapons “are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” and “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2Corinthians 10:4-5). Four important enemies that we fight against in the kingdom of God are the following:
- One major enemy to the kingdom of God is ourselves! Our own flesh, as the Bible calls it, is an enemy of the kingdom of God. We create so many, many problems for ourselves and others, and thereby hinder and frustrate God’s purposes. Through our carnal nature, we can be stumbling blocks to our brothers and sisters. God wants and requires our cooperation in building His kingdom. We are His body (Ephesians 1: 22-23, etc.). When He wants to do something on this earth, He uses His body to do it. Our own sinful tendencies defame and gum up kingdom efforts. We create resistance and unnecessary obstacles to kingdom efforts. The flesh needs to be properly recognized and brought under the authority of the cross (Romans 6, Galatians 2:19-20, 2Corinthians 5:14-15, Galatians 5:24, Galatians 5:17, and many other New Testament scriptures).
- Another major enemy of the kingdom of God is the devil and demon powers. These demon powers use man’s sinful nature and war against the kingdom of God. Ephesians 6:11-13 speaks of our war against spiritual powers. Demons are real and need to be recognized and resisted as enemies of the kingdom (1Peter 5:8-9).
- The world is another major enemy. James writes “…that friendship with the world is enmity with God…” James 4:4. The ways of the world entice the church. The world persecutes the church. The world is like peer pressure demanding that the believers cave in and accept the world’s ways and thoughts.
- Deception is another major enemy that works very closely with the first three mentioned above. False teaching is destroying the Protestant and Catholic churches. In my view, it is stunning how much false teaching is in good, and otherwise Bible-believing churches. Jesus in Matthew 16:17-19, basically said to Peter that revelation (accurate teaching) was the rock that Jesus would build His church on. With a faulty foundation, how can a house stand? For example, many modern day Protestants directly teach or imply the deadly idea that a believer can do as they please because they are not saved by works. I would tell them that we are not saved BY good works but we are saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14, and many, many more scriptures). I would tell them that we are dead to the law so that we can bear fruit to God (Romans 7:4, Galatians 2:19, and Hebrews 9:14). I would tell them that believers may have different beliefs about days, practices and customs, but it is as unto God that they have these beliefs and practices (Romans 14:6-8). I would tell them that God gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit to lead us (Acts 2:38, Romans 8:4,14), and so that we can bear fruit to God (Galatians 5:22-23). This false teaching (we can do as we please because we are not saved by works) gives the green light to the flesh (carnal nature) of people to do as they please; thus making a mockery of Christianity and resulting in untold, personal catastrophes and “ship wrecks.”
- Curses are enemies of the kingdom. Sickness often times is an enemy of the kingdom.
And so we have it! The first four points of the Lord’s Prayer match up with the four realities and symbols that were found with the Ark of the Covenant before God left it. These four realities in the Ark of the Covenant were symbolized by the three articles in the Ark or chest; and the golden Cherubim of Glory which were built into the golden mercy seat which was the lid on top of the Ark. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to God, and find mercy and help in times of need.
We need help in three basic areas: our behavior, our provision and help with our fight against our true enemies and adversaries. These three areas of need or concern are symbolized by the three articles in the ark. The fourth point relates to the person of God to whom we pray, and He is glorified when any of these three areas of need or concern are met and satisfied.
The point regarding glory relates to honor and glory that we give God; and that we get directly from the person of God in due time, as we glorify Him even with our behavior (Romans 2:7-10). Romans 2:29 says that the true believers’ “… praise is not from men but from God.” Also, true believers do and can experience a certain amount of praise and honor in this world (Deuteronomy 28:1, 10, 13; Acts 2:47; Matthew 13:57; etc.)
The Four Faces and Thousands of Old
and New Testament Scriptures
Before we match these four points found in the Ark of the Covenant and the Lord’s Prayer, with the four faces of the living creatures in Ezekiel, we need to establish how often these four points are seen in hundreds and even thousands of New and Old Testament scriptures and passages. One, two, three or four faces or points can be seen in many passages of the Bible. Let’s pick a sample of scriptures to see how dominant these four points are.
It should be understood that the entire tabernacle of the Jews and the entire Lord’s Prayer have other points besides these four. Thus the entire Bible makes other points and has other themes. Also, as stated before, these four points show us what salvation looks like; they do not directly show us how to get saved. These four points relate to what believers strive for and believe for with the help and encouragement of the Holy Spirit; once they are saved.
Now, let’s think about the four realities or truths found in the Ark of the Covenant and the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. Once we establish how dominant these four realities are throughout the Old and New Testament, then we will connect these four to the four faces of the living creatures found in Ezekiel.
We will see how the lion’s face speaks of power and authority against various enemies. We will see how the face of the ox speaks of an obedient servant bearing the burden of its master. The ox therefore symbolizes obedience, doing God’s will, bearing another’s burden, walking in love and righteous living. We will see how the eagle symbolizes the glory of God. The eagle shows how God is high and lifted up, and His glory is over all the earth (Psalm 57:5).
Psalm 57:11 says,” Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.” Psalm 148:13 says, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” The eagle is known to fly; and be high and lifted up. The eagle points us to God’s glory. Do you remember the cherubim of glory in the Holy of Holies and on top of the Ark; how they were over the mercy seat and over the Ark of the Covenant with its three articles?
And finally, we will see how the man’s face speaks of God’s ability and desire to be our source and provider. He is even able to provide a sacrifice for the world. Abraham saw that God would provide a sacrifice for himself, and Abraham prophetically called that place where it happened, “The-Lord-Will-Provide” Genesis 22:14. That place was on Mount Moriah, where Jesus was crucified centuries later. Not only this, but even Jesus who was also a man, called Himself the Bread of Life.
He was identifying Himself with the manna in John chapter 6. Manna relates to provision. Also, the man’s face speaks of how God, having a man’s face, is able to RELATE to all of our needs, great and small; emotional, physical, and spiritual. Thus the man’s face speaks of God’s ability to provide for us things that are great; and even smaller things like our daily bread mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer.
These four faces will be examined and explained in more detail later. We are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look at a number of scriptures and passages to see how these four great realities or faces show them-selves.
-Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Here we see “give” which is an act of love or righteousness. Then we see how God will provide for the giver. Thus, righteousness (love) and provision are seen in this scripture.
-Judges 7:2 And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘my own hand has saved me.’ ”
One theme here was that God was concerned that Israel would not glorify Him for the victory, if their numbers were too large. Also, God was planning to give Israel victory over its enemy. Thus we have two themes here. We have the theme of giving God glory. The second theme is that this scripture also relates to God’s ability to give us victory over an enemy.
-Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
Here, the strength of God to protect is being shown. Also, righteous people are receiving protection. Thus God is showing His strength in this scripture. Righteousness is also a theme.
-Exodus 14:4 “Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
God was glorified by defeating Pharaoh and his army. Also, victory over an enemy is implied here. Thus, power over an enemy and glory are the two themes here. Can you see the lion (victory over an enemy) and the eagle (to God be the Glory above all else)? God is showing those two faces in this scripture. We are getting ahead of ourselves on this, but there is no stopping the unveiling of these four faces of God! They shine through the scriptures.
-Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Here we can see seeking the kingdom which is the face of the lion, because it deals with expanding, strengthening or defending the kingdom against opposition, and opposing kingdoms. We can see seeking righteousness which is the face of the ox. We can see provision which is the man’s face; because the seekers will have all these things added to them. Some might see God’s glory in this because it is His kingdom, His righteousness, and He is the provider of all these things that are added to the seekers. God’s glory would be the eagle’s face. If one doesn’t think God’s glory is seen in this particular scripture, that is alright.
-Psalm 81:13-16 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever. He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
The ox is seen here with the “walk in My ways.” The lion is seen with the “subdue their enemies.” The man’s face is seen here with, “He would have fed them.” Interestingly, this passage covers the law and the testimony found symbolized in the three articles in the Ark of the Testimony.
-2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
The apostle Paul was arguably the greatest and most faithful Christian who ever lived. And yet, because of his great revelations, he was in danger of being puffed up and exalted above measure. We all have a tendency of wanting to take glory for ourselves. This whole discussion pertains to the eagle. Who is to be exalted and lifted up: Paul or God? Also, the attack by Satan was allowed by God because Paul was in danger of being puffed up. This chastisement shows the face of the lion. Our flesh or sin nature can be a major enemy to the kingdom of God.
-1Corinithians 12:9b …to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit…
I can see all four faces of God in most any gift of the Spirit. Healing meets a need of an afflicted person, thus this shows the human face of God. The gifts of healings are a display of God’s power, thus showing the lion’s face of God.. The gifts of healings when exercised, are kind and loving things to do for people, thus the face of the ox. And finally, God is glorified by His supernatural healings, thus the face of the eagle is being displayed.
I would say most all of the gifts of the Spirit meet human needs (human face), display God’s power (lion’s face), involve acts of righteousness (ox), and glorify God (eagle). This kind of makes sense, because the Holy Spirit is God and thus can demonstrate all four faces at any given time. He can also demonstrate one, two or three faces at any given time. The Father and the Son can do likewise.
The fruit of the Spirit would clearly display at least the face of the ox (Galatians 5:22-23).
-Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Good works are the ox’s face. These good works glorify our Father in heaven; thus the face of the eagle.
-Acts 2:44-45 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Here we have believers giving, which would be showing the face of the ox. God’s Holy Spirit was using the believers in a great way (Acts 2:4). We also have people getting their needs met. This latter would be demonstrating the man’s face which is provision. Thus, one person’s righteous act is another person’s provision.
-1Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
A person involved in blatant immorality (1Corinthians 5:1), was practicing this for all to know. The church was instructed by the apostle Paul to remove this person from their fellowship until he repented. He eventually did repent, leading Paul to tell the church to reinstate this person (2Corinthians 2:6-9). Here we have church discipline for the purpose of protecting the body of believers. The face of the lion would be on display here. This is the strength, power and the authority of the Word, to protect the church from being corrupted.
-Malachi 3:10-11 “Bring all of the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the lord of hosts; and all nations shall call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
In the above famous scripture the Lord requires the obedience of bringing all of the tithes into the store house. This shows the face of the ox. The obedient believer is demonstrating the face of the ox. The Lord will then open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings. This shows the human face of God. Because of the believers’ obedience, the Lord will also rebuke the devourer and make the vine bear fruit. Rebuking the devourer is protection, and is showing the face of the lion.
In my opinion, making the vine bear fruit is increase caused by God’s power, thus again showing His lion’s face. Having all nations call them blessed is God granting them honor from other people, in my opinion.
It takes God or another person to give you honor. That is the only way honor can come. I suppose the devil can also flatter you for a devious purpose. God blessing His people with honor is showing the face of the eagle in God’s people.
We are to give God glory as shown in the Lord’s prayer and the Holy of Holies. But we, who are made in God’s image also want glory, honor, respect, and recognition.
Also, God is righteous and loving and He wants us to be the same. In many of these scriptures, our obedience releases God’s provision, power (or protection), and even releases some honor or glory for us. Certainly, according to the Bible, the faithful believers will be glorified and gain honor at the end of time from God, Himself. Consider the following scripture.
-Romans 2:7 and 2:10 …eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; ….but, glory, honor, and peace to everyone works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Believers who have the Holy Spirit in them, have a desire to do good works. They display the face of the ox by working their good works. They also are reflecting who God is, in that their God is righteous and good. In the next world the faithful believers will receive from God, glory and honor. God and His children display the face of the eagle.
I believe immortality mentioned in the scripture above, relates to the eternal kingdom where we will not ever be removed or defeated by any kind of enemy (the face of the lion). Immortality might also include eternal provision and life (the face of the man). Immortality might also be eternal glory (the face of the eagle). One word or concept can cover more than one of these faces.
Peace speaks of the Lion, I believe. Peace is absence of war and conflict. Peace can be the result of defeating the enemy, and being free from conflict. Peace can also be freedom from worry about provision, which would be the face of the man.
-Proverbs 25:6-7 Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of the great; for it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” than you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen.
This scripture is all about honor, glory, respect, shame and disgrace: the face of the eagle and its opposite. Advice is being given. Pride goes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18). The humble will be exalted (Matthew 23:12).
The phrase “whom your eyes have seen,” is interesting. One person cannot have glory, honor or shame, except by and through another person. God Himself wants honor and glory from like beings, which would be man who is made in His image; thus the reason for our existence. God wants people to willingly love and honor Him. He doesn’t want people to be forced into loving Him (2 Corinthians 9:5; in this scripture, our obedience and love towards others, shows our love for God.).
Genesis chapter 2 deals with issues of this type. For example, God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Adam, who was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), desperately wanted another like being (Genesis 2:23) to notice him, and to share with.
I repeat. It takes another person to GIVE glory to a person. It takes another person to GIVE one respect, love, honor; and even shame and disgrace. Even Jesus said the following in John 8:54: “Jesus answered, ‘If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God.’ ”
-Jeremiah 13:11 “For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,” says the Lord, “that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.”
This scripture speaks of the glory that God wants His obedient people to bask in, in this world and in the next world. God’s people get to share in His glory at the right time. This relates to the face of the eagle.
– Jeremiah 9:23-24; 23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness,
judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
The above two verses are beautiful examples of what we have been talking about in this chapter. In verse 24 God said that He exercises lovingkindness in the earth. Sustenance and provision would be part of lovingkindness (the face of the man). Although, lovingkindness would be more than just provision. (Notice the overlap. One word or concept could involve more than one face.) God also said that He exercises judgment in the earth (the face of the lion). God’s judgments help maintain order and justice in the earth. God also said that He exercises righteousness in the earth (the face of the ox). Also, God implied in verse 24 that He should get the glory for these and not man (the face of the eagle).
In verse 23 above, the parallel and opposite of these four faces can be seen in humanity. Man is glorying in having three attributes. Glory here is parallel the eagle. When man glories in having riches in verse 23, he is paralleling the face of the man.
When man glories in having might, he is paralleling the face of the lion. When man glories in having wisdom; in this context he is paralleling the face of the ox. Wisdom in this context is knowing how to do things in this world. This would include the best way to respond, behave or act in a given situation. The concept of wisdom could overlap to other faces also.
At this point, I would like the reader to look at the following list of scriptures and see what faces that he can see in each scripture. I will provide the faces that I see in each scripture. I recommend the readers cover up my conclusions (faces); and then, when the reader has made their own conclusions, they can compare.
Psalm 22:19-21 Lion
Acts 3:12-13 Eagle
Luke 19:38 Eagle (maybe you can see more here, no problem if you do)
Psalm 113:4 Eagle
Psalm 79:11-13 Lion, Eagle
Psalm 89:32 Lion
Luke 14:10 Eagle
Romans 12:3 Eagle
Romans 2:7-10 Eagle, Ox, Man, and maybe Lion
Malachi 3:8-11 Ox, Man, Lion
John 12:43 Eagle
Acts 3:12-13 Eagle, Lion (healed)
John 17:22 Eagle
Revelations 14:7 Eagle
1Corinthians 5:13 Lion
Proverbs 16:18 Eagle, Lion
Acts 14:11-18 Eagle
Matthew 23:12 Eagle, Lion
Proverbs 11:19 Ox, Man
Proverbs 10:16 Ox, Man
Proverbs 10:22 Man
Acts 20:35 Ox, Man
Genesis 2:15-16 Ox, Man
Matthew 19:16-17 Ox, Man (life, manna), maybe Lion
Jeremiah 7:23 Ox, Man, maybe Lion
Deuteronomy 28:1-3,7 Ox, Man, Lion (vs 7), Eagle (vs1)
Joshua 1:7-8 Ox, Man, Lion (success?)
2 Chronicles 16:9 Lion, Ox (loyal?)
John 5:44 Eagle
The reader will be able to replicate the above with many, many more scriptures in the Bible. Hundreds and even thousands of scriptures will have various combinations of these four faces shining through them. Also, the reader should not be confused that many other truths are also in the Bible; such as salvation scriptures, the opposite and human corruptions of these four great faces, and other things.
Also, there are certain truths, like repentance, humility and faith; that are required for one to experience every aspect of God’s full plan of salvation. For example, repentance, humility and faith are required for each article in the Holy place situated next to the Holy of Holies; they are also required for each sacrifice at the entrance of the Tabernacle. There is more to the Bible than just these four faces. Love, hope, faith, endurance and faithfulness are also qualities that are present in all aspects of our walk with God; they pertain to all of the main points of the entire Tabernacle; they do not just pertain to the four faces found in the Holy of Holies.
Also, do not be surprised if one idea has more than one of these four faces shining through. Eternal life can mean eternal provision (the man’s face). In some contexts, eternal life may also include eternal protection (the lion’s face) and eternal glory and honor (the eagle’s face). Eternal life might also include eternal righteousness (the ox’s face) in some contexts; I’m not sure. Never-the-less, these four faces are the four fundamental building blocks of our walk with God in the Spirit. They can be combined in any combination to form another idea with important meanings and connotations. Let’s not corner ourselves into some unnecessary “box.”
To restate the above paragraph: do not be surprised if these faces “melt” into each other and form an idea or spiritual truth.
The Symbolism of the Four Faces
Let’s now take a closer look at the symbolism of each of these four faces.
Face of the eagle:
The eagle flies high above the earth. The flying eagle is high and exalted above the earth and all that is on the earth. The following are some scriptures that show that the eagle reminds us of God’s glory in this way. In the book of Revelation 4:7, the eagle’s appearance is described as the “flying eagle.”
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace, good will toward men!”
Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.
Psalm 7:17 I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
Psalm 8:1 O Lord our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.
Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God and I will praise Him; my father’s God and I will exalt Him. (The Hebrew word for “exalt” (“rum”) involves the idea of being high and exalted.)
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.
It is obvious that the face of the eagle speaks of giving God glory. The eagle soars and is exalted above all the earth. Not only this, but where would our relationship with God be, without our giving Him glory. Also, we can see that giving God glory is such a dominant theme in the Bible. It makes sense that the eagle should represent this fundamental truth or reality.
Also, a person who is made in God’s image, needs another person to appreciate and acknowledge him. Remember Adam in Genesis 2. Adam was not satisfied with animals and paradise, he needed another person to complete him and make him happy. Adam had abundant provision. He had security from enemies until he allowed the devil access; he had authority and power over the animals. He knew what to do and what not do. Yet, he had no one on the earth to honor, respect and appreciate him. As God Himself said, “it is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)
God does not want to be alone either. Look at Luke 14:16-24 as one of many examples. The “certain man” who prepared a feast was enraged that his invited guests made excuses and did not join him at the banquet.
I believe Genesis chapter 2 gives us understanding of why God made us in the first place. God wants suitable companions (creatures made in His image, people) to appreciate who He is; and what He has done; and what He can do (Genesis 2:19-20). Also, and very importantly, God wants voluntary friendship. He wants people who want and choose Him; and appreciate Him; and love Him. This is known because God gave man a choice in the garden of Eden, to obey or not to obey (Genesis 2:16-17). In John 14:15, Jesus said, “ ‘ If you love me, keep My commandments.’” (John 14:21, 1John 4:20-21, and many other scriptures state that our love for God is proven by our obedience to Him.)
In the book of Job, Job was tested to see if he really loved God (Job chapter 1). Satan accused God by saying that the only reason that Job respected and feared God was because God showered him with blessings. Satan was basically implying that God had to bribe and pay Job in order for Job to be His friend. Satan challenged God to take away the blessings, and both of them would be able to see if Job really loved God. Satan maintained that without the blessings or “bribes,” Job would “curse You to Your face” (Job 1:11, etc.). At the end of the book, after Job had endured much misery and proved his love for God, God returned the blessings two fold (Job 42:10-17).
To repeat myself here; it takes another person to GIVE glory, respect, love and honor to a person. A person cannot create glory, respect, love and honor by themselves and for themselves. They need another person to cooperate. “Jesus answered, ‘If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me …’” (John 8:54a). (Trust me on this solo thing. I have already tried it. It’s called “daydreaming.”)
Face of the ox:
The ox is a servile animal; it is known to be a servant to its master. The ox is a submissive animal that obeys and works for its master. The ox plows for its master. The ox is also known to bear the burden of another; even though the ox does not directly benefit from bearing the other’s burden. The ox is valuable to its master and owner because of all the work the ox can do for him.
It is also interesting to note that the ox is a castrated bull. When the bull is in the rut (sexually aroused), he tends to be unruly and out of control. He tends to rage and fight with other bulls, and other threats that he perceives. The bull is quite a contrast with the servile, obedient ox. In fact, bulls are purposely castrated to become oxen so that they will become servile and obedient.
Male elk, male moose and other wild animals are famous for being dangerous, unmanageable, and belligerent when they are in the rut. They are radically self-centered and bellicose. The reader is probably aware of all the elk and moose fights that happen during the rutting season.
The phrase, “bull headed,” speaks of not being reasonable or open to truth and reality. Bulls tend to be driven by testosterone, lust and rage; which is opposite of the picture of the believer being lead by “the wisdom of the just” (Luke 1:17).
Thus, the ox speaks of obedience, righteousness (right living), and love (burden bearing); also love fulfills all righteousness. Among all the people who ever lived, Jesus was the most obedient and submissive person to His Father’s will (John 5:19, John 6:38, Luke 22:42, etc.).
It is not surprising to me that the practice of circumcision is interpreted in the New Testament as a picture of being delivered from the body of sin (Colossians 2:11). This God given procedure on the male sex organ is a picture of keeping the entire body of sin under God’s will. Such authority can only be experienced through our death with Christ by grace through faith.
Now, I don’t want to leave the reader with a jaded view of sex. God created sex in Genesis chapter 2:20-25 and before. Ephesians 5:23-33 gives us a magnificent view of Christ and His bride which is the church. Thus, sex has a high and holy place in God’s plans and God’s creation. Unfortunately, people and all of creation (Romans 8:19-22) have been corrupted by sin. Thus, something wonderful has been corrupted and twisted.
Face of the lion:
The face of the lion balances the face of the ox. They are mentioned as being opposite each other in Ezekiel 1: one on the right and one on the left. They also balance each other in terms of their respective meanings.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side,… Ezekiel 1:10a
The lion speaks of strength, power and authority over enemies. This balances the meekness and submissiveness of the ox. The lion is territorial, thus implying a kingdom in which the lion rules, defends, and expands. The lion is strong and courageous, ready to battle any intruders and enemies. The lion may attempt to extend his kingdom.
It is easy to see how the lion relates to Aaron’s rod and the part of the Lord’s Prayer dealing with “Your kingdom come … on earth as it is in heaven.” The lion shows how God with the believer’s cooperation is strong, powerful, and has authority over an enemy or subversive influence (Acts 5:1-11). The believer needs to cooperate with God by exercising God’s authority and power over true enemies by faith (James 4:7, 1Peter 5:8-9, Ephesians 6:10-13, Matthew 16:19, etc.).
Aaron used his rod against the enemy (Pharaoh). Aaron’s rod that budded was also a sign against the rebels and against subversives (Korah, Numbers 17:10). Today’s believer in Christ should rely on and use the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, the word of God, the power of the Spirit, and any other resource available to him in the New Covenant. The above are resources to use against the demons, the world and the carnal nature of man.
Also, the lion is all about kingdom expansion and so is God (Mark 16:19-20, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:41, and many more scriptures). This also takes the believers’ cooperation: read Mark 16:19-20 and Matthew 28:18-20.
Face of the man
The face of the man balances the face of the eagle. The face of the eagle speaks of God being high and exalted. His glory is over all. He is untouchable. The face of the man speaks of God on the ground and here with us; and able to relate to people and their needs. If God did not have a human face, how would He relate to people? How would He meet man’s needs if He was oblivious to our issues and what we are going through? He created us in His Image (Genesis 1:27). He has a human face.
Among the four faces, the man’s face relates to provision. Where would we be without provision and sustenance? As mentioned before, the Christian is to look to God as his source for all provision. The Christian certainly works as indicated by the face of the ox. Working at a legitimate job that contributes to the good of society is an example of righteousness (right living and the face of the ox). Wages would be the worker’s just compensation (the face of the man). This all fits with God’s plan for provision. We give thanks to God for helping us do the work, and we give thanks for the compensation. Remember when Jesus was tempted by the devil to turn the rocks into bread (Matthew 4:3-4)? Here, Jesus was tempted to gain provision outside of God’s plan and God’s word.
As mentioned before, the Lord’s Prayer speaks of God meeting our daily needs. The golden bowl of manna in the Ark of the Testimony speaks of God miraculously providing for the Hebrews daily needs in the wilderness. With the manna the Hebrews had to gather and prepare the food.
Jesus, being a man, also called Himself the “Bread of Life” in John 6:35, and He did so throughout John chapter 6. In other words, John chapter 6 revolved around the manna which was and is all about provision. In John 6, Jesus expanded the concept of provision and made it a discussion about our spiritual needs also; and about His meeting those spiritual needs.
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord give us this bread always.”
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:32-35
God could even provide a Savior for the world. In Genesis 22:7-8, the Bible quoted Abraham saying, “God will PROVIDE for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering,” when referring to the sacrificial lamb needed for Abraham’s sacrifice. Abraham was going to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, on the altar (Genesis 22:12). Yet, Abraham and Isaac found a ram with its horns caught in a thicket (Genesis 22:13). This provision was a type and precursor of Jesus Christ. Abraham then named that place where this happened, “The-Lord-Will-Provide (Genesis 22:14).”
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go and worship, and we will come back to you.”
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order, and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here am I.”
12 And he said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:1-14
All of the above happened on a mountain in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:2), near or at where Jesus was crucified roughly 1750 years later. In Jesus’ time some of the places were renamed. Abraham’s sacrifice was a type and prophetic picture of Jesus being the sacrifice for humanity so many years later. Abraham’s sacrifice was basically a prophesy of God providing His own son as the sacrifice for humanity on a mountain in the land of Moriah. This was the greatest provision of all.
It would not surprise me if Jesus was crucified on the very spot that Abraham had his sacrifice and where Abraham named the place, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.” I believe this because God showed Abraham the exact mountain and place in Moriah where Abraham should make his sacrifice (Genesis 22: 2, 3, 4, 9, and 14). The scriptures here repeat themselves five times regarding this spot of land (Genesis 22: 2, 3, 4, 9, and 14). I don’t know if I can prove that this location was the exact spot where Jesus was crucified, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true. Look at how much emphasis God put on the exact spot Abraham should make his sacrifice. We do know that Jesus was crucified on a hill in this general area called Moriah. God providing Jesus as a sacrifice was the greatest provision of all.
It is important to notice that Jesus was a man. As a man, the scriptures associate Him with the manna and Abraham’s famous sacrifice. These two Biblical subjects have to do with provision. God wants us to see Himself as our provider for our daily bread as in the Lord’s Prayer, and as seen with the manna in the wilderness. God also wants us to see that God is the provider of our greater need. God wants us to see that God provided the world a Savior who was also a man. Thus, the man’s face of God is used to symbolize provision! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
The Four Faces, The Four Symbols with
the Ark of the Covenant, and
the First Four Points of the Lord’s Prayer
Regarding this teaching, it is very important to understand that the four faces, the four symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant, and the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer, are interchangeable. If one wants to just use the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple as their reference point, they can show all of the thousands of scriptures in the New Testament and in the Old Testament; and how these scriptures portray one or more of these four symbols.
The opposites and parallels of the four symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant can also be shown. This all demonstrates how powerful and profound the Ark of the Covenant was and is. The very thoughts about the Ark of the Covenant can change one’s understanding of this world.
The first four points of the Lord’s Prayer can also be one’s reference points. These four points could be used instead of the four faces and instead of the four symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant. The Lord’s Prayer has long been known among Christians as hugely important.
Of course, the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer, the four symbols associated with the Ark of the Covenant, and the four faces can all be seen simultaneously as being portrayed in thousands of Old Testament and New Testament scriptures. Their opposites and parallels can also be seen simultaneously.
One might think that there is more to the Bible than just these four foundational points that can be seen in the Ark, in the four faces, and in the first four points of the Lord’s Prayer. True. Later in this book, we will see the main symbols of the entire temple being fulfilled in Acts 2, the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, and Ephesians 1. The Ark of the Covenant and its symbols are just part of the Temple. There is more to the Lord’s Prayer than just the first four points.